There’s an expression in baseball, “threw him one in his wheelhouse,” when a pitcher throws a pitch to a hitter that he can not just hit, but that he can hit a long way. Well, when Alana came up with today’s theme, “TV Themes from your childhood,” she threw one in my wheelhouse. If you go to the search box in my right column and search for “TV themes,” you’ll see all the posts I’ve done with theme songs in them.
I went a little nuts with the theme and stopped myself at 15, not that I couldn’t have gone all night with this. I think I’ve done almost all of these before, so consider this my “greatest hits” list.
- Bonanza Sunday night at our house always included Bonanza, starring Lorne Greene, Dan Blocker, Michael Landon and, for a time, Pernell Roberts. This show will live on forever in reruns, for good reason: It was good TV.
- Riverboat This is one that I don’t remember running the first time, but which I’ve recently been introduced to by local station 57.2, WATC TOO. This show starred Darren McGavin and, at least for the first season, Burt Reynolds in his first TV role.
- Perry Mason (“Park Avenue Beat”) Another classic TV show which starred Raymond Burr, Barbara Hale, William Hopper, Ray Collins and William Talman. I think of Grandma Holton when I see this, because she loved it and we’d watch together sometimes. It was also the favorite TV show of Ayn Rand.
- The Man From UNCLE Must-see TV, 1960’s style. Starred Robert Vaughan, David McCallum, and Leo G. Carroll, with a notable list of guest stars.
- The Saint Based on the novels of Leslie Charteris and the movies featuring George Sanders as Simon Templar, also known as “The Saint,” it starred Roger Moore in the title role.
- The Avengers (original theme) Theme song from the first several seasons, when it starred Ian Hendry (the first season), Patrick Macnee, and the gorgeous Honor Blackman, who left the show to play Pussy Galore in the James Bond film Goldfinger. This theme was written by jazz great Johnny Dankworth.
- The Avengers (new theme) ABC (American Broadcasting Company) in the US picked up the show from ABC (Associated British Company) in the UK, filmed the episodes in color and added a new theme, written by Laurie Johnston. Macnee was joined by the lovely Diana Rigg and the equally comely Linda Thorson in the Sixties, and by Gareth Hunt and the amazing Joanna Lumley in the 1976 reboot.
- Sciene Fiction Theater This ran from 1955 to 1957 as a syndicated series and WGN in Chicago re-ran it during the Sixties. We really didn’t watch this, but I remember the theme song, which sounds like it should be the theme to a romance or a soap opera.
- Alfred Hitchcock Presents The theme was Charles Gounod’s “Danse Macabre,” appropriate for The Master of the Macabre.
- Mr. Lucky Like Peter Gunn, this was a Blake Edwards production with music by Henry Mancini. Unlike Peter Gunn, it only lasted one season. Hell of a theme, which Mancini took to #21 and was covered by Vince Guaraldi.
- Mister Ed From the sublime to the ridiculous, this Filmways presentation (as they say at the end of the clip) aired in syndication its first season and on CBS thereafter. It starred Alan Young and “Bamboo Harvester” as Ed.
- Green Acres A victim of CBS’s “rural purge” in 1971, this show starred Eddie Albert and Eva Gabor and a cast of crazies that included Pat Buttram as the devious Mr. Haney and Hank Patterson, first Barbara Pepper and then Fran Ryan as the Ziffels, who had a pig they treated as a son.
- Pistols and Petticoats Another show we didn’t watch frequently, it starred Ann Sheridan, Ruth McDevitt and Douglas Fowley. It was only on for part of the 1966-67 season, which might explain that.
- The Real McCoys I remember watching this when we lived in Indianapolis in 1958-1959. It starred Walter Brennan as the family’s patriarch and Richard Crenna as his son and focused on the changing relationship between them.
- The Big Valley A show that starred Miss Barbara Stanwyck as the matriarch of the Barkley family, looking more beautiful than she did in her younger days. It also starred Richard Long, Peter Breck, Lee Majors and a young Linda Evans as her adult children.
If you’re really into vintage TV, YouTube user RwDt09 has really done a fantastic job of reconstructing TV schedules and assembling videos that are a composite of the shows’ opens. I can (and have) spent hours watching his videos. Definitely a channel to subscribe to.
That’s Monday’s Music Moves Me for June 18, 2018.